Taal Volcano, one of Phillipine’s most active volcanoes has erupted on Sunday and has sent more than 20,000 people away from their homes.
The ongoing eruption, warned to even get worse by experts has sent a plume of ash and smoke about 6 to 9 miles into the sky.
Officials of the country have appealed to residents to stay away from their homes for now as a bigger eruption is awaited.
The Taal Volcano, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) south of the capital Manila on the island of Luzon, began erupting on Sunday, sending ash up to nine miles (14 kilometers) into the air and prompting warnings of a possible “explosive eruption” and large-scale evacuations, according to the CNN.
“If you were this person and think ‘well all I know for sure is I have three cows, seven goats and some soy beans and I don’t go back and take care of them, I know I’m screwed,’ than someone telling you to stay away for two weeks and maybe nothing happens — you’re in trouble anyway,” said Joseph Michalski, director of the Earth and Planetary Science division at the University of Hong Kong.
Almost 459,000 people reside within a dangerous zone with a 14-kilometer (8.6 miles) radius around the volcano, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), while more than 930,000 people live in a wider 17-kilometer (10.5 miles) danger zone.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has requested a “total evacuation” of everyone within the larger 17-kilometer (10.5 miles) radius around the volcano, the CNN reports.
Mariton Bornas, chief of volcano monitoring and eruption at PHIVOLCS said residents within the immediate radius would be at risk of tremors, fissures and the threat of a sudden pyroclastic flow.
The institute recorded 335 earthquakes in the area of the volcano since Sunday and said more activity is expected in the next few days.
“These new strong, continuous earthquakes that we are now experiencing are due to fissuring, which means that there really is magma that is still making its way out of Taal,” Bornas said.